Rustico, the crepes-and-coffee spot replacing Iconic Hand Rolls on First Avenue, has fired up its grinder and griddle.
Owner Alexey Mokropulo’s family has a couple of restaurants in Russia — and the dulce de leche and banana crepe is a nod to his homeland, where crepes are kind of a big deal — but he considers his place Italian. Hence coffee beans custom roasted in Italy and fillings like prosciutto and mozzarella. He’ll eventually serve “Italian-style salads,” panini, and (pending a liquor license) Italian beer and wine. Oh, and gluten-free crepes, as well.
For now, the candlelit cafe is open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and till 11 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays — and it’s already attracting neighbors like Ssavr Zaraev. He took over another rustic-chic spot, Paprika, some months ago and has given it a new chef and menu (and it’s now on Facebook). So if Russian-owned Italian spots are your thing, First Avenue and St. Marks is officially the place to be.
Rustico, 135 First Avenue, nr. St. Marks Place; 212-777-0555